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7 Tips for Planning a Trip With a Larger Group

©istockphoto/CEFutcher

©istockphoto/CEFutcher

You’ve probably planned a trip before—solo, maybe, or perhaps a couple’s trip or a vacation with your immediate family. But if you’ve been tasked with planning a trip for a large group, get ready for a whole new experience.

Whether it’s an old reunion with friends, a holiday with the extended family, or a buddies’ trip to celebrate a milestone, traveling as a group can be a lot of fun—when properly executed. Here are 7 tips to get you started.

Get Numbers
From booking accommodations to making dinner reservations, you’ll need to know exact numbers sooner rather than later. Have guests confirm their attendance as early as possible. Asking for deposits is a good idea to get commitment, especially if you will be forking over some of your own money in the planning process.

Set Expectations
Make a point of talking to your guests and asking them what they expect from the trip. Your sister and her husband might be eager to do some exploring on their own, while your parents could be expecting ’round the clock family togetherness time. Avoid tension and fights by managing expectations and making sure that everyone is on the same page.

Plan Enough, But Not Too Much
Start researching activities and attractions that your group will want to check out throughout the trip. Avoid burn out and crankiness by limiting the number of major activities each day. Leave plenty of space in the schedule fort people to have some alone time—this will help keep everyone sane.

Look Beyond the Hotel
Depending on your situation and your destination, it could be more affordable—and more fun—to book a group accommodation instead of individual hotel rooms. Look into options for renting an entire house or some other unconventional accommodation. Just imagine taking over a historic castle or a quaint B&B!

Reserve, Reserve, Reserve
Wherever possible, make reservations well in advance. This is particularly important for restaurants: finding a table that can accommodate your entire group could prove to be more than a little challenging if you don’t book ahead. If the restaurant doesn’t take accommodations, go early.

For museums, tours, and other attractions, check to see if your group qualifies for a discount. You might even get access to other perks, like a private guide.

Communicate
Although you’ve been tasked with planning this trip, the other travelers are probably excited and curious. Keep them in the loop by updating them on your progress and be willing to discuss any ideas or suggestions they might have. Don’t be afraid to delegate—planning a group trip can be a big undertaking.

Be sure to communicate your expectations. For instance, it might be fine if a few people choose to skip out on the market tour you had planned—but if you’ve already bought tickets for an event, let your guests know that they need to be there.

Roll With the Punches
More people on a trip means that more things can go wrong—but there are more hands on deck to help if that happens. Expect a few issues to pop up along the course of the trip (especially at the beginning) and take a few deep breaths if you find yourself getting overwhelmed. If things don’t go exactly as planned, don’t freak out: sometimes, the best moments happen out of the blue.

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